A beautiful spring day, a perfect locale, Yogi Berra himself, and a great turnout; the Fifth Annual Spring Meeting of the MSU Emeriti Association was a wonderful occasion. The highlight of the day for many of us was the appearance of Yogi to greet us during the tour of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. As you certainly know, this Museum is located on the campus of the University and has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship with it. Our students and faculty have participated over the years in many of the Museum's educational programs. The University honored Yogi in 1996 with a Doctor of Humanities degree.
The tour of the Museum, the centerpiece of our meeting, began with a film highlighting the major events of Yogi's career from his beginning as a sandlot player in The Hill section of St. Louis. He could have been a St. Louis Cardinal but turned down an offer from Branch Rickey of $250 to sign because his friend Joe Garagiola received $500. The Second World War intervened; Yogi enlisted in the Navy and participated in the Omaha Beach landing on D Day, surviving the capsizing of his rocket launching vessel. His long career with the Yankees began in 1946 fittingly with a home run in his first game.
As we walked around the Museum we could read about some of the highlights of Yogi's career, viewing the famous photograph of his leaping into the arms of Don Larsen in 1956 after Don's perfect game in the World Series. There was the description of this long feud with George Steinbrenner which kept Yogi away from Yankee Stadium and their eventual reconciliation. We saw the holy cow of Phil Rizzuto on which visiting major leaguers inscribed their signatures.
Toward the end of the tour we encountered Carmen, Yogi's wife of over fifty years who in front of a large mural of the family described their three sons Larry, Tim, and Dale and the many grandchildren.
Lunch and Campus Tour
After the Museum tour we boarded a campus bus and drove to the Heights, the newest residence hall complex located at the north end of the campus. This complex of ten buildings was opened in the fall of 2011 and is the result of the first public-private partnership created under the 2009 NJ Economic Stimulus Act. The ten separate residence halls are named after well known citizens of New Jersey, e.g. Walt Whitman, Althea Gibson, Albert Einstein, and Clara Barton. And there was the Sam Mills Hall named after one of our football stars who went on to play many years in the National Football League.
After a lunch in Sam's Grill we boarded the bus for a tour of the campus. Our tour guide was a student who found it difficult to believe when we described what the campus used to be like. Now there are fourteen buses necessary to carry the students from one part of the campus to more distant locales. The campus is more like a small city today than what most of us remembered.
The Business Meeting
The Business Meeting, which actually began the day, was called to order by David Kelly, the Association President. Here are some of the highlights.
1. The Association welcomed seven new members; Joe Attanasio, Mark Friedman, Mary Beth Henry, Cynthia Onore, Alice Freed, Ken Kalmanson, and Gil Klajman. There was general agreement that our new policy of considering all Emeriti to be members of the Association was working very well. It is to be hoped that the new members (and old members too) will consider assuming leadership positions in the Association.
2. All new Emeriti receive a document from the Provost's Office listing their privileges such as library and email access. Now there is a new section as follows: All Emeriti become members of the MSU Emeriti Association. The Association congratulates you on this honor and welcomes you. For more information on the Association, please refer to our website: http://www.montclair.edu/emeriti which lists the objectives, privileges and benefits of the Association.
3. Barbara Wheeler described the process of obtaining an MSU ID card. An email describing the rather complicated process has been sent to all our members.
4. Dave Kelly described how the News and Events section of the website will become even more important in publishing the activities of the membership. Already many recent activities have been reported in this venue.
5. Attention was called to the change in the bylaws which states that spouses and partners of the membership are considered Associate members and are invited to all our meetings.
6. The finances of the Association are in excellent condition.
7. Maria Schantz reported on a dream future where the Bond House would be home to the Emeriti Association, the Retirees Group, and Alumni Relations.
8. The membership agreed that there should be a closer relationship with the Retirees Group. After all, our members are members of the Retirees Group. To this end the MSU Foundation is hosting a June 1 luncheon for the two groups. Our members have been notified by email and encouraged to attend.
9. Our next general meeting will take place in October. Could we combine it with a program in Kasser or a nearby museum? Suggestions will be welcome.
The meeting adjourned at noon.